LAHORE: Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday promised of lending his support to the research and development (R&D) requirements of projects proposed by the Pakistan Chemical Manufacturers Association (PCMA) for indigenous production of chemical products currently being imported by spending huge amounts of foreign exchange.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, PCMA Chairman Abrar Ahmed expressed deep gratitude to Chaudhry for his assurance during a meeting with the PCMA delegation held to promote the manufacturing of essential chemicals within the country under the Make in Pakistan Programme the other day.
The delegation which was headed by the PCMA chairman included Zafar Qidwai, Zafar Mehmood, Abdul Hai Khatri, and Imran Qureshi.
The PCMA chairman informed that the federal minister had agreed to fund PCMA research reports and also help complete business plans on Naphtha Cracker and Chlorine Chain by allocating USD100,000 for each project.
He said that the availability of a Naphtha Cracker Complex would enable import substitution and export promotion of the chemicals in Pakistan. “However, despite the absence of this basic requirement so far, the sector is contributing $747 million in exports,” he said, adding that he hoped that this share would increase manifold after the establishment of Naphtha Cracker.
He further informed that PCMA had developed a plan for import substitution of $5 billion by 2025 with the production of 14 chemical products which are currently being imported from Saudi Arabia, China, UAE, Kuwait, and Thailand.
“In addition, about 28 projects have been proposed for R&D,” he said, adding that the MoST minister had agreed to constitute a committee in the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) in collaboration with PCMA to help the chemical sector’s R&D and product development.
In a presentation given by PCMA, Chaudhry was informed that the size of the global market of chemicals is around $5.7 trillion basing over 96pc of all manufactured goods on chemicals.
It may be noted here that the chemical sector is the 4th largest and 3rd fastest growing sector in international trade whereas the market size of the chemical industry in Pakistan is around $12 Billion. But, the local chemical industry is at the nascent stage, most of the demand is being fulfilled through imports.
Despite being underdeveloped, the local chemical industry is contributing around $7.5 bn in the trade deficit and Rs35 billion in the form of taxes.
The sector is also supporting around 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.